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Speaking from My Heart

December 5, 2013

My mind is curious and analytical, powerful in investigating the world around me, dreaming, imagining, questioning, reasoning, planning, creating….  But as educator Robert Valett wrote, “The human heart feels things the eyes cannot see, and knows what the mind cannot understand.”  It is my heart, not my mind, that possesses the deepest wisdom.  It is my heart, not my mind, that believes.  It is my heart that stands in awe of Creation and ultimately leads me to the Truth. My mind acknowledges this, and with Czech writer Milan Kundera concedes, “When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.”  


It is my heart that I have long most trusted.  However, those times when I have expressed this sentiment to many Christians, I was immediately rebuked.  Often they pointed to the biblical locus classicus [a passage considered to be the best known or most authoritative on a particular subject] on the heart, Jeremiah 17:9:  The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 


I would be left wondering, “How can this be?”  How could people who would wholeheartedly exhort non-believers to invite Jesus into their hearts hold such a contradictory belief?  


“I am NOT deceitful!” my heart would cry.  For it is not the heart I once had, but part and parcel of my becoming a Christian—Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)  More specifically, God Himself promised, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”(Ezekiel 36:26-27)  My old deceitful heart of stone is GONE.  For me to say otherwise is to deny the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.


Paul writes to the Ephesian church, I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  (Ephesians 3:16-17)  Jeremiah himself writes, “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord.  “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.”  (Jeremiah 31:33)  Earlier, he enjoins the men of Israel to “circumcise your hearts.”  Paul uses the same surgical imagery in Romans 2.  As a believer, my heart is circumcised “by the Spirit,” purified, not deceitful or wicked.


But can my heart be lead astray?  Do I still sin?  Of course.  But as Paul makes clear in Romans 7, it is not me, not my heart, that now sins, but my sin nature, sin living in me.  And God has provided for that.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:7)


But am I a sinner?  No!  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:11 that what I once was, I am no longer.  God does not call me a sinner, why should I call myself one?  He calls me His son!  Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”  (Galatians 4:6)  Would the Spirit of God move into a wicked heart?  No!  For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you.  (Psalm 5:4)


I am confident that God sees my heart as a new creation indwelt by the Spirit who is my faithful “walking stick”.  Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  (1 Corinthians 6:19)  Therefore I can boldly trust my heart knowing God loves me and protects me.


Be still, my heart, and know that He is God!

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